Being involved in a car accident can be a frightening, stressful ordeal. You may have been injured, and you may want to seek compensation from the negligent party. Car accidents happen all the time. They can have a serious impact on your mental health, and seeking justice is not unusual. At the moment, you may be wondering what to do after a car accident in Orange County. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you figure out exactly what you should do.

What To Do After A Car Accident in Orange County?

What You Should Do After a Car Accident

There are certain steps you should always take in the immediate aftermath of a car accident, regardless of whether it is a minor fender bender or a devastating tragedy. If you are coherent and not severely injured, here are a number of steps you can take to document your accident, which can help you later when you file an insurance claim:

  • Stay Calm: The minutes following a car accident can be some of the most stressful of your life. It is important to keep yourself together, stay calm, and assess the situation as well as you can. Panic can influence your judgment for the worse and cause undue delays. These could result in further damage or even a second accident.
  • Call 911: As soon as you are able, contact the authorities and inform them of the situation. Get the police and an ambulance to you promptly. You will need a valid police report when it comes time to seek an insurance claim.
  • Check the Passengers: If there are other passengers in the car with you, make sure they are okay. If they are not, do what you can to take care of them before the authorities arrive. Once they do, let the authorities take over and get them to safety.
  • Move the Car: If you are able, move your vehicle out of the way of oncoming traffic and park it on the side of the road. If your vehicle is too damaged to move, just leave it there to be dealt with later. Get yourself and any potential passengers out of the immediate accident zone.
  • Document the Scene: Once you have been cleared of any severe injuries by the EMTs on site, you can begin documenting the scene of the accident. Take photos of any vehicles involved in the accident, the license plate numbers, any property damage, and any injuries that you or your passengers have sustained. Talk to any potential witnesses and get their contact information. You may need to speak to them later.
  • See a Doctor: Even if you have been medically cleared by the EMTs, you should still go see a doctor for a thorough evaluation. Not only will the resulting medical records be important for your future insurance claim, but they may also find an injury that the EMTs initially missed. It is always ideal to be careful and certain after a car accident.
  • Inform Your Insurance: You need to notify your insurance company that you have been involved in a car accident. If you delay this step, it could cause problems for you in the near future. In addition, Orange County has specific laws regarding car accidents. If you are involved in one, make sure you:
    • Stop at the scene of the accident.
    • Exchange insurance information with all parties involved.
    • Report the accident to the police and DMV if there is significant property damage or injury.
  • Talk to a Lawyer: You will want an experienced lawyer to help you go up against the insurance companies, all of whom want to make sure that they have to pay you as little as possible. Your lawyer can walk you through the process of filing an insurance claim and help you make sure that your rights are not taken advantage of.


Q: What Do I Do After a Minor Car Accident in California?

A: If you are involved in a minor car accident in California, you should make sure the other driver has your insurance information, but you may not have to notify the authorities. Under California state law, police only need to be notified of a car accident if said accident fulfills three specific criteria:

  • Someone was severely injured.
  • Someone was killed.
  • Property damage exceeds $1,000.

Even if you don’t file a police report, you can still file an insurance claim for the accident.

Q: Should I File a Police Report for a Minor Car Accident in California?

A: If you have been involved in a car accident of any kind in California, it is generally a good idea to file a police report. It is greatly beneficial to have one on hand when you seek an insurance claim. Getting the police involved keeps everything straight, protects you legally, and clarifies who was at fault for the accident. If the damage is minor and nobody was injured, you legally don’t have to file a police report for the accident.

Q: How Long Do You Have to Report an Accident to Your Insurance Company in California?

A: The amount of time you have to report an accident to your insurance company in California really depends on the insurance provider that you belong to. Some companies want their drivers to report an accident within days. Others have no strict timeline for reporting an accident. Every insurance carrier has different rules. It is generally a good idea to report the accident as soon as possible so all relevant parties can be in accord moving forward.

Q: How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Record in California?

A: Under California state law, an accident typically stays on your driving record for three years, beginning on the date of the actual accident. During this time, the accident will be considered part of the public record and can be seen by insurance companies, prospective employers, and law enforcement entities. If the accident is particularly serious, it could stay on your record for as long as 10 years. It depends on the severity of the accident.

Reach Out to a Car Accident Lawyer Today

At Easton & Easton, we are determined to do what we can to help you deal with the fallout of your car accident. We can help you build your case, gather the necessary evidence, and represent your interests in court if it comes to that. Contact us to schedule a consultation on how to manage the situation.